Inside Nadine Labaki’s humble abode, expect to be dealt a couple of surprises. The first is around 85 centimeters tall, cloaked in a buffed up Spiderman suit. This is her favorite project to date, one that took nine arduous months to deliver. Say hello to three-year-old Walid. He will show you his stellar dance moves and musical proficiency, performing to perfection the icebreaker role ahead of meeting and greeting the young starlet. Perhaps equally surprising is Labaki’s grounded demeanor, given the fact than in recent months she has ascended to superstar status. Disappearing in an oversized pullover and loose fitting jogging pants, the director-actress is effortlessly stunning– there is no sign of the $500 hairdo or the showy Christian Louboutin stilettos closely associated with such stardom.

Not much has changed in the Mouzannar residence since Labaki garnered further international attention and piled up the accolades for her second long feature film “Where Do We Go Now?”, save for some fresh images of her and the crew at several film festivals. “I live in a bubble. I don’t go out much; I’m at home most of the time. So when I’m at a restaurant and people come up to me, and start taking pictures with me, I’m surprised. I didn’t essentially change anything about my life since the exposure. But I get the picture when I go out and see how people are reacting to me. And it hits me that it’s big. But when I get back home, I wonder what to cook for Walid the next day, or worry about having to wake up early to drive him to school,” she explains. “I don’t let it get to my head and I don’t think it ever will.” But what did get to her head, long before the fame and before anything at all, was dreaming, particularly pie-in-the-sky dreams.

“All along, I kept dreaming and I wasn’t scared of dreaming big, although I wasn’t sure it was possible to reach my goals. I started not fully knowing what I was doing. I didn’t have a lot of experience when I did my first film. I created my own way of working – directing and acting at the same time and working with nonprofessional actors, which is not ideal but it is my way and it works for me,” she adds. Those pipe dreams and that unusual way of working is why Nadine Labaki merits a big mention in our Visionaries issue.

You’re currently the toast of the town. What are you happiest about?
I’m happy that I created something that is connecting so well to people…When someone comes up to you and says we’re proud to be Lebanese because of you, this is an amazing feeling. And that’s something I hear on a daily basis, when I meet people on the street, when I’m in a public place, or I receive such comments by mail or on facebook. It is really fulfilling that the essence of what I wanted to say through “Where Do We Go Now?” reached people, even if the quality wasn’t that great in my view.

To read the rest of this interview, grab a hold of our latest issue – Issue 19 out now in stores nationwide
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